A Dominant Defensive Performance Leads the Way Against Purdue

By Nick Polak on October 6, 2019 at 10:00 am
Oct 5, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shaka Toney (18) sacks Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer (13) during the second quarter at Beaver Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season began, we heard repeatedly from analysts and coaches alike that this was primed to be the fastest, and perhaps the best, defense that Penn State has had under James Franklin. After five games, it's quickly becoming apparent that such statements were not just lip service.

Just take a look at some of the numbers that the Nittany Lion defense limited the Purdue offense to on Saturday.

  • 8 first downs
  • 1/14 on third down
  • 104 total yards
  • -19 rushing yards
  • 10 sacks
  • 13 tackles for loss

These are just silly numbers. Yes, Purdue was absolutely ravaged by injuries all over the roster, but this was a stifling performance by Brent Pry's defense, especially when you consider how often they were on the field after the first quarter due to the conservative nature of the offense.

The defensive line was the best we've seen it, applying pressure on quarterback Jack Plummer nearly every time he dropped back to pass and affecting basically every single play Purdue ran on offense.

The linebackers, led by Micah Parsons, were consistent presences in the Boilermaker backfield, with the aforementioned Parsons also creating one of the more impressive sacks of the young season.

The secondary had a bit of trouble on a few deeper passes from Jeff Brohm's offense, but overall tackled very well and made life very difficult for all of Purdue's remaining receivers.

Penn State's offense has taken most of the headlines to this point in the season thanks to some crazy scoring-outputs, but the defense has truly been what's driving the Nittany Lion machine to this point in 2019.

With this latest win, the defense is allowing just 7.4 points per game and 240.4 yards per game. Brent Pry's unit has looked fast, powerful, and strong. And even scarier for opposing offenses is that they've appeared to get better with the start of Big Ten play.

The only question now is whether or not they can do it against the highly-ranked teams on their schedule. Luckily, fans won't have to wait long to find out with a huge three-game stretch of Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan State on deck.